NASA Teams With Industry to Prevent Pipeline Damage

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Representatives from the pipeline industry and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have recently teamed up to develop an enhanced pipeline monitoring system. The project, Right‐of‐Way Automated Monitoring program (RAM), was initiated in 2008 to advance the capabilities of pipeline operators to monitor, detect and respond to possible threats to the integrity of their pipeline system.

Currently, transmission pipelines are monitored 24‐hours a day through the use of a variety of automated systems. Aircraft are also employed to inspect pipeline routes. Pilots check for excavation activity, ground movement or any other anomalies that may adversely affect the integrity of a pipeline system. To assist in the detection of leaks and other potential problems along the pipeline rights‐of‐way, today’s pilots also employ the use of highly advanced infrared cameras with built‐in thermal imaging capability.

The RAM project is focused on enhancing current monitoring techniques by utilizing the latest advances in technology to improve the collection of data that is of concern to the integrity of the pipeline system. A thorough analysis, processing and management of data collected will provide the means to enhance leak detection and pipeline security. The overall benefits of such a project are increased community safety and environmental protection.

Once complete, the RAM project will produce a comprehensive technology tool that can be commercialized for pipeline operators as well as other industries to use in everyday situations. RAM project representatives are currently requesting information from those who have innovative technologies that could be used in a project of this nature. If you have information or technology that should be considered by the RAM project team, please contact PAPA.